Arsenal have managed to end the final international break for 2016 without picking up any new concerns on the injury front. However whilst some of our biggest stars now return to first team training with Arsenal, one key man who remains missing through injury is Santi Cazorla.
Cazorla has become a key player for the Gunners over the years, but I don’t think it’s shown any more than last season. The Gunners would more than likely have had a much better chance at winning the league last year, if Arsenal had had Santi Cazorla amongst their ranks. The Gunners really missed not having the Spanish magician in the side last season and as a result there were times that our gameplay wasn’t as good as it needed to be to win the game. Having the return of Cazorla this season has already proved vital in the centre of midfield, however once again the Spaniard faces an extended period of time on the sidelines, with the player currently ruled out with an injury.
It’s already been a month since Cazorla picked up the Achilles injury sustained against Ludogorets and currently there is no expected date of return for the star man. The midfielder announced the disappointing news today, when speaking to a radio station in his homeland of Spain. Sky Sports news picked up on the report, by quoting Cazorla who said: “I still don’t know the exact time. I am trying to return as soon as possible to be with the team again, but I cannot say if it will be soon, or if I still have a few weeks left. I do not know, but hopefully it will be as soon as possible.”
Cazorla is very much one of those players who does his job on the pitch on a silent scale. He always manages to achieve the expectations placed on top of him, but on a level that often goes unnoticed to many. At 31 years old and soon to be 32, is an experienced player in the Arsenal set up, but there’s a real concern that Cazorla’s fitness is sure to fall soon. This is the second long term injury sustained in as many years, with last year’s injury ruling him out for the majority of the campaign. Although this current issue is very unlikely to be anywhere near the same amount of time, it is still beginning to become a slight concern for both the fans and the management team.
Cazorla is of course yet to be offered a new deal, despite the Arsenal bosses already in talks with Bellerin, Ozil and Alexis, all of whom have years left on their existing contracts. Cazorla however is in his final year and I find it surprising the player hasn’t been in talks with the club, especially given his clear importance to the side. Perhaps the Gunners are showing concern over his growing persistence of injuries?